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Thread: What are my chances of getting into these schools?

  1. #1
    Apr 2016
    Vladivostok, Russia

    What are my chances of getting into these schools?

    Hello, applying to grad programs this year. I'm 25 years old. I am mostly interested in community/economic development. I am also a convicted felon and have spent a good amount of time in jail before I decided to make some changes-- thinking about writing a small portion of my personal statement on how this factor has also inspired me to pursue my Master's in Urban Planning without being maudlin. (Not sure if this is a good idea).

    Applying to schools: USC, UCLA, UI Urbana-Champaign, Berkeley, UPenn (any other school recommendations?)
    ----Hoping to get into USC and UCLA, Berkeley and UIUC are dream schools.

    Junior/Senior GPA: 3.63
    Extracurriculars: Worked for a government non-profit as a research assistant for 1.5 years, also worked for a urban planning consulting firm for 8 months. Teaching in Russia for the next year.
    GRE: 150Q/156V [worried about these scores, should I retake?]

    Please give me some advice.


  2. #2
    Your experience will help carry you along - improving your GRE score will definitely help your GPA (while definitely good, they may parse it to determine what is skewing it one way or another).

    I would re-shift your focus on geographic areas, not strength of programs. While the strength should be considered - try to nail down where you see yourself working/living (a large city? a city with a lot of room for improvement? a relatively inexpensive city?). This will help refine regions/areas, where you can then narrow down to specific programs. Here is a list of accredited programs: http://www.planningaccreditationboar...ndex.php?id=30

    For instance, I see that you are a local - if you would like to stay in the area, don't rule out Cal Poly Pomona or UCI (I'm unsure of their Com/Econ.Dev strength), but ensure you have safety schools.

    On your "what are my chances" note - I applied and was accepted to UCLA and USC (attended the former - GO BRUINS) with a 3.7, about a yr of planning experience, and similar GRE scores.

    Before you apply, take some independent courses, attend mixers, presentations, etc. - all of these can only help you when you're making your case on your Statement of Purpose(s).

    Good luck!

    Sorry, I meant that improving your GRE will help ease the focus on your GPA.

  3. #3
    Feb 2013
    The Midwest, God's gift to Planet Earth
    Everything like your GPA, experience, GRE look fine...but I'm not sure about the felon/jail part. This is a tricky situation and you may wish to get some professional educational consultation on how to handle this situation before you apply (whether or not to mention it, etc.)

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